Caption this one yourselfIt seems that all isn’t well in Colorado Springs. The Denver Post has the lastest on the matter: Haggard steps down amid gay affair inquiry. (And no, this inquiry doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Ann Coulter getting probed.)
Ted Haggard, one of the most prominent evangelical pastors in the nation, resigned today as president of the National Association of Evangelicals amid allegations that he carried on a three-year sexual relationship with a male prostitute.Hey, Ted was just participating in an out-reach program!
Haggard, founder of the 14,000-member New Life Church, has denied the accusations but said in a statement released by the church today that he could “not continue to minister under the cloud created by accusations made on Denver talk radio this morning.” [...]
The former prostitute, Mike Jones, 49, of Denver, went public with the accusations on Tuesday, saying he felt compelled to do so because he believes Haggard, a strong opponent of same-sex unions, has been hypocritical. Haggard is married with five children.
The article has some other interesting details, such as that Haggard allegedly used the name “Art” in his dealings with Jones. But I think we should stop focusing on the negative. So, here are a couiple of passages from a very informative Harpers’ piece entitled Soldiers of Christ:
Pastor Ted, who talks to President George W. Bush or his advisers every Monday, is a handsome forty-eight-year-old Indianan, most comfortable in denim.I’m sure he mentioned all that in his Rentboy.com profile.
The press tends to regard [James "Pooch Killer"] Dobson as the most powerful evangelical Christian in America, but Pastor Ted is at least his equal. Whereas Dobson plays the part of national scold, promising to destroy politicians who defy the Bible, Pastor Ted quietly guides those politicians through the ritual of acquiescence required to save face. He doesn’t strut, like Dobson; he gushes. When Bush invited him to the Oval Office to discuss policy with seven other chieftains of the Christian right in late 2003, Pastor Ted regaled his whole congregation with the story via email. “Well, on Monday I was in the World Prayer Center”—New Life’s high-tech, twenty-four-hour-a-day prayer chapel —”and my cell phone rang.” It was a presidential aide; “the President,” says Pastor Ted, wanted him on hand for the signing of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Pastor Ted was on a plane the next morning and in the President’s office the following afternoon. “It was incredible,” wrote Pastor Ted. He left it to the press to note that Dobson wasn’t there.Coincidentally, Jeff Gannon has also had way more access to the White House than Dobson. Just an interesting factoid.
The Harpers’ piece also tells the fascinating story of Pastor Ted’s rise to the top o’ the Colorado Springs spirtual heap – here’s some of that saga
He was always on the lookout for spies. At the time, Colorado Springs was a small city split between the Air Force and the New Age, and the latter, Pastor Ted believed, worked for the devil. Pastor Ted soon began upsetting the devil’s plans. He staked out gay bars, inviting men to come to his church;Say no more, say no more!
his whole congregation pitched itself into invisible battles with demonic forces, sometimes in front of public buildings. One day, while he was working in his garage, a woman who said she’d been sent by a witches’ coven tried to stab Pastor Ted with a five-inch knife she pulled from a leg sheath; Pastor Ted wrestled the blade out of her hand. He let that story get around. He called the evil forces that dominated Colorado Springs—and every other metropolitan area in the country—”Control.”
Sometimes, he says, Control would call him late on Saturday night, threatening to kill him. “Any more impertinence out of you, Ted Haggard,” he claims Control once told him, “and there will be unrelenting pandemonium in this city.” No kidding!You can now see why why George Bush or his advisors seek guidance from Pastor Ted every Monday.
Oh, and I found this footnote also highly instructive:
3. The life of the gay man, in the evangelical imagination, seems to be an endless succession of orgasms, interrupted only by jocular episodes of male bonhomie. The gay man promises Christian men a guilt-free existence, the garden before Eve. As such, he is not just tempting but temptation embodied; “the Enemy,” to whom Linda often refers.So, I think we can see how we’ve misjudged Pastor Ted: he wasn’t having a three-year affair with a male prostitute, he was just wrestling with temptation.
Pastor Ted has now admitted to buying meth from Jones, and getting a mssage from him (“Haggard drew a silent stare from his wife when he told the gathered reporters that he received a massage from Jones”), but says there was no sex. Jones has failed a polygraph question about having sex with Pastor Ted, but stands behind his allegations, and will be repolygraphed again later.
So, Monday’s chat with the White House should be interesting.